A new Labour candidate will contest the Ipswich seat this year, after it was confirmed by the East Anglian Daily Times that Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere will not stand in the General Election on June 8th.
Possible names discussed in the Spy office include Deputy Council Leader Bryony Rudkin, former South Suffolk candidate Jane Basham, County Council Labour Leader Sandy Martin, and new Euro MP Alex Mayer.
Cllr Rudkin is unlikely to run if she doesn’t think she can win, which given the polls looks unlikely. She’s just stepped down from the County Council, where she was Council Leader, and we don’t think she’ll want to spend the next 50 days in the media every day pushing an agenda she might not entirely agree with.
Ms Basham is a committed Corbynista, and was the Labour Party’s PCC candidate back in 2012. She stood in South Suffolk last time, but has a history of activism in Ipswich and beyond, and is a polished and accomplished media performer who would give Ben Gummer a run for his money.
Cllr Martin will be concentrating on increasing the number of Labour councillors on the County Council, and probably wouldn’t relish the distraction right now of mounting a General Election campaign – especially if he were to lose to Mr Gummer.
Alex Mayer MEP has only just taken over as a Member of the European Parliament, following the resignation of Richard Howitt, and she has campaigned hard in Ipswich before, but it is unlikely that the Ipswich CLP will select someone from outside of Ipswich.
Given the Ipswich Labour Party’s history of selecting internal candidates, it’s hard to see who they could go for. Carole Jones was a Parliamentary Candidate before, but if David Ellesmere doesn’t want to stand it is hard to see his partner wanting to run instead. Neil Macdonald was a beaten finalist in Labour selection in Ipswich when David was selected, so is probably among the favourites. An outside chance but potentially a popular choice would be former Mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm. Mr Chisholm would represent a youthful and energetic campaign and could counteract Mr Gummer’s natural exuberance with that of his own.
Spy will be waiting to see which of Ipswich’s favoured sons and daughters is lined up to take a run against Mr Gummer.